Collard Greens & Potato Casserole – 2019 Red Carpet Menu for Oscar®
It’s the 2019 Red Carpet Menu for Oscar®! For Green Book – it’s Green Bake!
We’re up to the second side dish! And we’re up to the movie that informed this whole menu. While watching Green Book, I knew it would be a Best Picture contender. I knew the menu would be southern cuisine. And I knew it would be called “Green Bake”. I couldn’t love this movie more.
This is one of 5 Best Picture nominated films that is based on a true story. Tony Lip drove Dr. Shirley, an acclaimed concert pianist, through the South in 1962. I’m ashamed to say, I had no idea about the actual existence of the “Green Book”, a book of hotels, eateries, etc. that were available to African-Americans. Segregation was such a terrible way of this nation that robbed people of their dignity just because of the color of their skin. Tony Lip was an Italian-American living in the Bronx and seemingly not too racially tolerant. Coming from the Bronx, I can attest to that attitude.
The performances were stellar. Viggo had the Bronx accent and cadence down pat. So few actors get it right. Mahershala Ali was his usual excellent self in this stunning performance. And yes, I saw the wonderful scene about fried chicken. And I would have loved to use it in the menu BUT it wasn’t green… I didn’t know what I would have called it. “Something” bake? Hopeless.
The clear choice was to make a casserole using a green veggie. Southern greens in my mind are collards. I wanted it to be a bit decadent so of course bacon and cheese is involved! Although there are a couple of steps to this recipe, it’s really easy. And the taste… oh man! It’s so good! The cheesy top oozing into the slices of potato and the bacon-kissed collards… yes please! You’ll love it!
Collard Greens & Potato Casserole
- 1/4 lb bacon
- 1 lb collard greens, stems trimmed and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
- salt & pepper to taste
- 6 tbsp butter, divided
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated (decide later if you want more)
- 3 tbsp plain breadcrumbs
- 4 medium Idaho potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/4” thick
- Cook bacon in large skillet and let drain on paper-towel lined plate. Pour off any excess grease from skillet.
- Over medium heat, add collard greens and cook while stirring until they’re bright green and mix in the garlic with thyme, salt & pepper. Crumble in the bacon. Cook a couple of minutes, take off heat, and set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp butter. Whisking constantly, add flour and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, let cook for about 2 minutes, whisking a bit, until it thickens. Stir in half the cheese and salt & pepper. After a minute, remove from heat and set aside.
- Coat a 2 quart baking dish with 2 tbsp melted butter and sprinkle in half the breadcrumbs. Evenly layer the potatoes, season with salt & pepper, then spoon in collard greens. Add another layer of potatoes, seasoning with salt & pepper. Pour cheese sauce over the top and cover with foil. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes.
- Mix 2 tbsp melted butter, remaining breadcrumbs, and remaining cheese in a small bowl. When casserole time is up, lower oven to 375° and remove from the oven. Uncover the top, evenly distribute breadcrumb mixture over the top, and put back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.